England Striker Peter Crouch Retires At 38

PHOTOS: Twitter/@petercrouch

 

The much-traveled Crouch, who spent the second half of last season at Burnley, made his English league debut in 2000 at QPR and also played for Liverpool, Tottenham, and Stoke. 

He made his England debut against Colombia in May 2005 and went on to play 42 times for the Three Lions, scoring 22 goals.

The forward, who is a towering 2.01 metres (six feet, seven inches) tall, confirmed his retirement on Twitter, writing: “After a lot of deliberation this summer I have decided to retire from football! Our wonderful game has given me everything.

“I’m so thankful to everyone who helped me get there and to help me stay there for so long.

“If you told me at 17 I’d play in World Cups, get to a Champions League final, win the FA Cup and get 100 @premierleague goals I would have avoided you at all costs.

“It’s been an absolute dream come true.”

Crouch played for a total of 11 clubs, winning the FA Cup with Liverpool and helping them reach the 2007 Champions League final.

He scored 108 Premier League goals in 468 appearances.

“My ambition was to play until I was 40, so it is scary saying the word ‘retirement’,” he said in a column for the Daily Mail.

“It has left me emotional and it feels weird not to be preparing for a new campaign, but circumstances over the last couple of seasons have made me realise that this is the right thing to do.

“To go from being a regular starter to someone whose role is limited to 10 or 15 minutes off the bench has been hard to accept.”

Former England striker Alan Shearer wrote on Twitter: “Congrats big man, a brilliant career and good luck going forward.”

Current England players Harry Maguire and Jack Butland, a teammate of Crouch’s during his time at Stoke, also paid tribute to the striker.

Maguire wrote: “Incredible career. Enjoy retirement.”

Butland added: “Been an honour to play and share a dressing room with you big man @petercrouch best of luck in the next stage of your career.”

AFP

Xavi Boasts Guardiola Can Change English Football

Pep Guardiola and Xavi on English FootballFormer Barcelona captain, Xavier Hernandez, otherwise known as Xavi has boasted of the competence of his former manager, Pep Guardiola in the English Premier League.

Xavi believes Guardiola “can change the mentality of English football” during his time at Manchester City.

“If there is one person who can change the mentality of English players, of English football, it’s Pep Guardiola.

“He is one of the best coaches. He could do a big revolution,” he told BBC.

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola

The 36-year-old Spaniard had won 14 major honours with Barcelona under Guardiola over four years.

He announced on May 21, 2015 that he would move to Al Sadd SC on a three-year contract at the end of the season.

Xavi’s agent said that the deal would involve the player becoming an ambassador for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup and also start his coaching qualifications.

Arsenal’s Petr Cech Reveals Secret To Vital Saves

Petr CechPetr Cech says taking a calm assessment of dangerous situations is the key to making important saves.

The experienced goalkeeper has had a big impact at Arsenal since his summer move from London rivals Chelsea.

Cech was particularly pleased with his performance against Liverpool in August, when he made two fine saves to deny Christian Benteke and then Philippe Coutinho.

“[My favourite was] probably the first one against Benteke because Gabriel tried to intercept the ball when he ran across the goal, and until the last fraction of a second I didn’t know whether he was going to touch it or not,” Cech told Arsenal Player.

“I had to wait and I also knew that Benteke was already there. I thought, ‘OK I have to wait to see if he deflects it towards his own goal or whether it will go anywhere else’, and then I knew that I would have to go fast to the other side. I was lucky that I had perfect timing to get there.

“Taking information before the situation happens helps. I knew he was running there so I knew that the moment Gabriel missed the ball I had to get there as fast as possible.

“It’s the awareness that I had two options; to wait and then as soon as the ball went past him, knowing that I had to get there. I was ready for that so as soon as I saw that he would not touch the ball I had already gone.

“Maybe it’s a bit of experience, but I would say it’s taking the information prior to the situation. That was the key in this moment.”

Cech Hails Arsenal Team Spirit

CechPetr Cech believes that Arsenal’s “extraordinary” team spirit will drive them on to further success in the coming season.

The Czech Republic international joined the club in June and has been delighted with the reception he has received from his new team-mates.

Cech is confident that the camaraderie he experienced on tour with the club in Singapore can help the Gunners mount a sustained title challenge this term.

“What I’ve found is a group of players who work very hard and who are focused on what they are doing on the pitch to get ready,” the goalkeeper said.

“I found that the team spirit is extraordinary in the way that everybody pulls in the same direction. This is why I believe that we can have a successful season.

“We need to have that connection between players to reach the same targets. I’ve only been here a few days but I can feel that the team is together.

“We have a good balance in the team. We have players with a lot of experience and we have young players who want to prove their value by being a part of the first-team squad and playing as much as possible.

“There are hungry players, there are experienced players and in terms of the age category we have a good balance. We hope to use that to our advantage.”

Liverpool Step-up Bid For Cech

cech_1Liverpool FC has revealed its intentions to step-up bid for Chelsea FC’s Goalkeeper, Petr Cech, source said.

Petr Cech 32, who is arguably one of the world’s top 10 goalkeepers, could barely get a game this season, because Thibaut Courtois looks like he may well become Chelsea’s best goalkeeper.

Cech was Chelsea’s No.1 goalkeeper for 10 years and he is believed to want a move away from Stamford Bridge, after losing his place to Thibaut Courtois, who returned from a highly successful loan spell at Atletico Madrid.

As Courtois is just 22, Cech may face a long wait to get back his starting role at Stamford Bridge.

With that in mind, the first goalkeeper to end a competitive game unbeaten, at the new Wembley Stadium, could well leave the club this summer.

Source reported that Liverpool, Napoli and Roma were all considering bids for the Czech international.

Simon Mignolet has impressed between the sticks at Anfield since being dropped earlier this season, but coach Brendan Rodgers would surely love to add a goalkeeper of Cech’s experience and ability to his squad.

Liverpool would have to likely rival bids from the two Serie A sides, but Cech is settled in England and Liverpool are likely to offer a bigger deal, considering the new British TV rights deal kicking in next year.

Liverpool To Host “Show Racism the Red Card” Event

Liverpool FC Team poses with SRtRC
Liverpool FC Team poses with SRtRC

The Liverpool Football Club are proud to host this year’s national awards ceremony for Show Racism the Red Card’s (SRtRC) school competition.

SRtRC would take place on Tuesday April 28 at Anfield, is an anti-racism educational charity that utilises the high-profile status of football and its star players in order to help tackle racism in society.

The majority of the campaign’s output is the delivery of education to young people and adults in schools, workplaces and at events held in football stadiums.

Each year, they deliver training to more than 50,000 individuals across Britain, as well as organising the largest equalities-themed competition for schools in England.

Thousands of young people of all ages and abilities, enter by producing artwork, creative writing, film and music pieces with an anti-racism theme.

Anfield would join a long list of venues that have hosted the SRtRC ceremony over the years.

The Etihad Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford, St James’s Park, Wembley Stadium, Villa Park and the Emirates Stadium have also held the event.

SRtRC Deputy Chief Executive, Paul Kearns, said: “It’s brilliant news that Liverpool FC has agreed to host the awards ceremony.

“We’ll be working with the club to make this event a really special one for the winners of this year’s competition in England.

Mr Kearns showing his eagerness, said “I can’t wait to see the entries. it’s always great to see the work about racism that young people throughout the country have produced.

“I know that this will be a really exciting incentive for young people from all over the UK, but particularly Liverpool and Merseyside, to get their entries in to this year’s competition,” Paul added.

Afcon 2013: Keshi Didn’t Disappoint Me — Nsofor

Lokomotiv Moscow player and Nigerian International Obinna Nsofor has admitted that his lack of adequate playing time for national colours is what hindered his chance to get an invitation for the Afcon 2013 as he said he was not disappointed at all after the  provisional list for the squad was released by Coach Stephen keshi.

Nsofor said he has not laced his boots for Nigeria in the last one year while other players who made the list were doing that so it will surprising to him to have been handed an invitation because some other players were up for the qualifiers to the Afcon 2013 tournament holding in South Africa from January 19.

“I have not played for over a year for the Super Eagles, and I was not expected to be invited because some players played the qualifiers and the coach will have confidence in them,” says Nsofor.

“Presently, I am doing well for my club, I play regularly and I hope that coach Keshi will give me a trial soon.”

The Nigerian International however wished the Super Eagles the best ahead of the tournament.

“I am a Nigerian and I will always wish the team all the best. I want Nigeria to win, and I wish all the players the best of luck,” Nsofor states.

The Super Eagles are expected to jet out to Faro, Portugal, tomorrow, where they will camp for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

I will return if i get the right offer – Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola, Barcelona’s outgoing coach, has hinted he could be seduced into making an earlier-than-expected return from his sabbatical.

The former Spain international announced his intention to take a break from the game following the Catalan club’s Champions league semi-final defeat to Chelsea last month.

Guardiola will end his trophy-laden four-year spell at Barca after tonight’s Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao.

But several clubs have since voiced an interest in acquiring Guardiola’s services, including newly-crowned European champions Chelsea.

Guardiola’s intention for a total break from football appeared to end any prospect of Chelsea luring him to Stamford Bridge, but the Spaniard hinted he could be lured back by the right club.

“I will be pleased to receive their calls, of course, but for the next months I have to charge my batteries, charge my mind,” said Guardiola.

“I’m going to rest and then I will wait and, when I will be ready, if one club wants me, if they seduce me, I will train again.”

Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea owner, has long since been an admirer of Guardiola, while Liverpool will also have been alerted by the Spaniard’s commments as they seek a replacement for Kenny Dalglish.

Liverpool sack Dalglish

Earlier, it was reported that Liverpool club management has been mum over the rumoured exit of their present manager, Kenny Dalglish. Now there is a new twist as the Merseyside club owners, Fenway Sports Group and club management confirmed that the contract of the former Anfield legend has been terminated.

The announcement came barely 24 hours after the former Liverpool player’s return from the United States assisted by his assistant coach to attend a meeting with John Henry and Tom Werner who are the principal owners.

“This is a price for failing to close the gap on the top four as the Reds finished the league with eighth position even after so much investment” Dalglish said.

The Scot was given a three-year contract a year ago but an inability to sufficiently close the gap to the top four despite a significant outlay on transfers appears to have persuaded Fenway Sports Group a change was required.

In a joint statement by Fenway Sports Group and the Club management it was confirmed that Dalglish is to relinquish his position as the manager of the Anfield club as his appointment has been terminated with immediate effect so as for change to be effected and the decision was not taken hastily.

Part owner Werner said they had made a tough decision to remove a man who is held in such high esteem at Anfield following his exploits as a player and manager in his previous spell in charge.

He acknowledged the effect the 61-year-old had had in putting things back in shape after a disastrous six months under Roy Hodgson but felt a change was required.

Despite winning the Carling Cup and reaching the final of the FA Cup the Reds’ league results were disappointing.

A 14th defeat of the season at Swansea on the final day of the season condemned the club to their worst league finish for 18 years and their lowest points tally (52) since 1953/54.

Prior to the start of the season Henry had suggested that Champions League qualification was the minimum requirement.

There had been progress made under Dalglish, who initially took temporary charge in January 2011 with the club dangerously close to the foot of the table after Hodgson failed badly.